(A/N) At last, the Hawkmoth takedown! This was a challenge to write - I'm not used to action scenes - but I hope you like what I came up with! It gave me the chance to be a little self-indulgent about his takedown at least. Because there's a certain thing in the tags that I've wanted to happen to Gabriel for a looong time.


"You remember the plan?" Damian asked.

Adrien, Marinette, and Ducard nodded.

About an hour after he'd left Ducard, he'd seen reports that Ladybug and Chat Noir were running around Paris. Deciding that this probably meant they were done talking for now, he'd met up with them again.

Ladybug had yelled at him about kidnapping them and stealing their Miraculous. He'd just stood there, bored. He'd had worse.

His mouth twitched as he suppressed a smile, thinking of when she asked about the position she and Adrien had found themselves in.

"And another thing!" she yelled, clearly trying to get out all her pent-up frustration and anger before they faced Hawkmoth, "you had no right putting us on top of each other like that!"

Chat looked hurt, eyes dropping to the ground, tail drooping.

Ladybug noticed immediately. Her voice softened. "I'm not complaining about the result, just that he put us in a somewhat intimate position like that without even knowing us, much less with consent."

Chat perked up again, his tail doing a happy little twitch, and he nodded, agreeing with her.

Damian sniggered.

Ladybug scowled at him. "And what's so funny?!"

"Ducard and I DIDN'T position you two on top of each other," he said. "Both of you were a few feet away from each other, backs against the wall."

Ladybug's eyes furrowed. "Then how-"

She stopped.

And groaned.

"I crawled into his lap I'm guessing?" Ladybug said, resigned.

Damian nodded, still smirking.

She sighed. "I really shouldn't be surprised. When I was little and stayed in Maman and Papa's bed, I'd apparently end up sandwiched between them regardless of where I started out. Papa used to call me a heat-seeking missile."

She glared at Damian again. "You're still on the hook for everything else though."

Damian leaned back, waiting for her to finish berating him. He'd survived Pennyworth's lectures. This? This was nothing.

"What're you smiling about?" Marinette asked him suspiciously.

Damian ignored her, checking the cameras instead. "Gabriel's in the dining hall, so we should have a good window right now. I just started looping the cameras. We're invisible starting… now!"

The four of them quietly snuck from Adrien's room to Gabriel's atelier, Damian quickly picking the lock. Child's play for a former member of the League of Assassins, or a Robin for that matter.

Damian made his way over to the portrait of Emilie, pressing the sequence of buttons he'd captured Gabriel using to access the massive underground chamber.

He wanted to know where the second sequence he'd seen Gabriel enter on the cameras would lead, but now wasn't the time. While he suspected that it had something to do with the other secret room, the one he'd been unable to gain access to, he couldn't be sure. Even if it was, he didn't know what to expect to find. He could handle anything Hawkmoth threw at him, he was sure. But his companions? Maybe not.

Plus…

He looked over at Adrien.

Truthfully, Damian didn't need to visit that underground chamber again. He'd seen most of what he needed to for now.

But Adrien DID.

He hadn't asked, but… he needed to see his mother.

If Damian had a beloved family member he thought was dead, but turned out to be merely asleep, no force on heaven or earth would have been able to stop him from seeing them. Hell, when he'd discovered that Grayson had faked his death, had reunited with him - well, Damian didn't initiate hugs often.

But that day? He'd taken a page out of Grayson's book and glomped him.

(Not that he'd tell anyone ELSE that, and if Grayson ever brought it up he'd just claim he must have memory loss in his old age)

When proposing entering the chamber, he'd justified it as having the kwamis take a closer look at Emilie, see whether they could glean more than he could. Which wasn't a lie - they may be able to figure out what was going on with her even when he couldn't - but it wasn't the main reason. They could go back and examine Emilie after defeating Hawkmoth.

He wasn't going to make Adrien wait that long.

No one had questioned his proposal. Probably because everyone agreed - even if no one stated the true reason out loud.

The elevator activated.

The four of them looked at the small hole in the floor that had opened up, then disappeared.

"...I thought maybe there was some sort of visual distortion with how small that hole looked," Ducard said.

Damian grimaced. "Nope."

"...This is gonna be cramped, won't it?"

"Yep."

And that's how the four of them ended up crammed together within a circle maybe two feet in diameter, heading downwards.

While he had a feeling that Marinette and Adrien were enjoying being so close, he'd really rather not be shoved up against them.

Luckily, the elevator expanded slightly as they moved downwards. It was still cramped and small, but more "sardines in a can" and less "Grayson playing Twister".

As they descended, the cavern opened up around them, the lights coming on.

A sharp intake of breath came from beside him.

Damian looked in the direction of the noise.

Adrien stared forwards, eyes fixed on the distant capsule.

When the doors opened he stumbled out, quickly regaining his balance, and dashed towards the pod where his mother lay.

Marinette ran after him, seeming to not want to let more than a few feet separate her from her partner.

He and Ducard hung back, as Adrien reached his mother.


SHE WAS HERE.

He ran his finger over the pod, fighting back tears. Just a few feet away, his mother lay, ALIVE.

Frantically he glanced around, searching for a button or switch or something to open it.

"I've got this, kid."

He glanced up.

Plagg flew out, entering the pod's control system. A few seconds later, it opened.

There she was.

Trembling, he stretched out a hand, fearful that she would dissolve into mist.

What if she was an illusion?

But - no.

He touched soft skin.

She was cool, but- she didn't feel dead.

His head snapped up, and he opened his mouth to ask-

There was no need.

Plagg flew around Emilie, Tikki joining him as Marinette caught up.

"She's definitely in a magical coma," Tikki announced after a few tense seconds. "Caused by using a broken Miraculous I'm guessing."

"Can… can you wake her up?" Adrien asked hopefully.

Tikki shook her head. "If it was that simple, Nooroo could've done it."

"Then… how can we heal her?" he asked.

He desperately wanted her to be okay. To have her RIGHT HERE and still lose her…

He bit back a sob.

"I'm not sure yet," Tikki replied. "The last time this happened, I wasn't privy to the details on how the victim was woken up."

"But they DID wake up?" Adrien asked.

She nodded. "Unfortunately, the people who held that knowledge aren't around anymore."

"Even…?"

She shook her head, cutting him off. "ALL the people."

"So it's hopeless after all?" Adrien asked, heart falling.

He KNEW it was too good to be true.

"No. It's not."

Adrien turned around.

Robin looked at him, eyes weirdly gentle. "I know some people, many of whom are skilled in magic. Maybe none of them know the method that was used to wake up the other victim, but I bet at least one of them can come up with a way to bring her back."

"You sure?"

He knew he sounded plaintive, like a small child asking whether the family dog would be okay after being taken to the vet for a severe injury, but at that moment, he felt like a small child.

He just… he just wanted his mom back.

Robin shook his head. "Nothing's for sure. But I can give it my best shot. She WILL be taken care of, whatever happens; THAT, I can promise you. And this time, she won't be hidden away. You'll be able to visit her while I try to find a cure."

Adrien bit his lip, tears filling his eyes.

There was hope.

Not much, but more than he'd ever had before.

Marinette placed a hand on his back, giving him a soft, sad smile.

He leaned against her, melting into her touch.

Most of his world may have been upended. But his partner was still here.

An alert sounded from a device Robin was holding, the same one that had displayed the feeds from the cameras Robin had installed. He checked it, eyes widening.

"Down below, NOW!"

Wait, what?

He didn't get a chance to ponder it further.

"Tikki, Spots On!"

Ladybug grabbed him and jumped off the edge of the railing, hooking her yo-yo on one of the supports. Before they descended out of sight, he saw Robin hit a button on the capsule, sealing it once more.

Adrien blushed. They did this kind of thing all the time as Ladybug and Chat Noir, but up close like this untransformed? He felt vulnerable, but… kinda in a good way? He knew that she was more powerful - WAY more powerful than him like this, but also that she would never hurt him. That she'd care about any discomfort he showed. That she'd never take advantage of him, or try to get him to do something he didn't want to do. That she'd protect him.

He didn't need to put up barriers with her to protect himself, didn't need to pretend to be okay when he wasn't. Not now.

He buried his head against her shoulder. Ladybug adjusted her grip, pulling him closer so she could stroke his hair comfortingly.

He fought back a purr. They needed to be stealthy now, and a purr might be a giveaway.

But damn was it tempting.

He felt a soft tap on his shoulder.

He lifted his head reluctantly.

Robin had apparently had the same idea Ladybug did, having fired a grappling gun at one of the supports. His friend had done the same thing, though she'd actually managed to find a small ledge to stand on.

Robin activated the display on his device, zooming in on one particular screen - the one pointed at the elevator shaft.

Someone was descending.

Adrien's stomach twisted.

Hewasn'treadyhewasn'treadyHEWASN'TREADY-

Gabriel Agreste, fashion mogul, magical terrorist, and his FATHER, stepped out.

Adrien stopped breathing.

Eyes locked onto the display, he stared as his father strode to the pod.

To his mother.

Footsteps sounded overhead.

Adrien flinched, convinced that somehow his father would hear them. Would charge down and-

And do what?

He shuddered. Before this, he thought the worst he could do was yell at his friends and bar him from seeing them.

Now? Now he was worried his father would flat-out MURDER them if he thought it might help with his goals. He'd never seemed overly concerned with how dangerous his akumas were before after all, and didn't give a crap that they were kids.

Oh no, wait. He DID care, but only because it made it easier to sneer at them about how weak they are.

He really didn't give a damn about anything or anyone outside of his goals, did he?

*kaCHUNKwhirrr*

Adrien shuddered as he heard the pod's door open. Right now, his father was looking at his mother. His mother, who he'd been able to see and visit all along. Could have taken HIM to see her.

But he hadn't.

"There were some new superheroes today."

Adrien gasped slightly, restarting his breathing. Hearing his father's voice - hearing HAWKMOTH'S voice - down here? Made it seem more real to him.

"Robin, from Gotham City, and some new girl, both riding atop a massive beast. Any one of them would make good prey for my akumas, though one seemed more susceptible than the others. There was much turmoil in young Robin, a deep undercurrent of guilt. I just need to figure out how to bring it to the surface, and I'll have my most powerful akuma yet."

A deep undercurrent of guilt? Robin was just a kid - he wasn't even certain he was old enough to be in collège, he was so small. Heck, he still had baby teeth! What could've happened to him that made him feel so guilty?

He looked over at Robin, gauging his reaction. Robin had gone stony-faced, holding himself rigidly.

Adrien had a sudden urge to give him a hug. He may not have been too happy about being kidnapped - though he'd never regret the sleepy cuddles that'd resulted from it - but right now, he just wanted to tell Robin that whatever he was feeling so guilty about, it was okay.

"Oh, Emilie… I miss you so much. My last plan may have failed, but soon, soon I will succeed and bring you back to us. I will destroy Ladybug and Chat Noir and take their Miraculous!"

Destroy.

That sounded an awful lot like 'kill'.

"Until then, I'll look after our son. He'll never truly be happy until you come back. Everything I do, I do so we can be a family again."

He- he thought- and for that he threatened MURDER- for HIS SAKE?!

For his HAPPINESS?!

NO.

"Plagg, Claws out!"

"No!" he heard Robin hiss.

He knew he shouldn't do this.

That he should just sit still and quiet.

But hearing him talk about destroying - about KILLING - him and Marinette?

And that it was all for his and his mother's sake? As if they wanted this - As if it EXCUSED this?

He'd sat quietly and done what he was told his whole life.

Now that he could fight back? When his father was THREATENING the people he cared about, and claiming it was for his sake?

He couldn't hide any longer.

"Wha-? Nooroo, Dark Wings Rise!"

As Chat propelled himself onto the walkway, a light flashed over his father.

Leaving Chat facing Hawkmoth.

"How did you find this place?!" Hawkmoth spat at him, tapping on Emilie's pod, sealing it shut.

"Because you're an idiot."

Chat glanced back, seeing Ladybug and Robin swinging over the railing. Briefly he wondered where Ducard was, then dismissed the thought. She was Robin's friend, anyone who could keep up with him could probably take care of themselves.

Robin continued, "Honestly, did you really think NO ONE would notice that the floor plans didn't match the actual Manor? You wouldn't have lasted a week in Gotham."

His father scoffed. "This will be your undoing. You think that mere CHILDREN can defeat me? Or did you return for another beating?"

"How. Dare. You." Ladybug hissed, looking like she dearly wished she was Kryptonian so she could murder his father with eye lasers.

"...Why."

His father frowned. "Excuse me?"

"WHY?!" Chat yelled, clenching his fist. "Why would you DO this?! HOW could you do this?!"

"To bring her back to me," His father gestured at the pod behind him, "I would do ANYTHING."

Chat gritted his teeth. "She would HATE what you've done. Hate YOU. Mom wouldn't want this!"

He froze.

OH NO.

"...Adrien?"

He didn't answer, just intensifying his glare in response.

"You would let your mother stay like this? How ashamed would she be of you, of her SON, who should love her above all else?"

Ashamed?

No…

NO.

She wouldn't be… Mom wouldn't be… she cared. She was a GOOD PERSON. There's no way she'd go along with father's plans!

She- she wouldn't be ashamed of him… right?

Guilt gnawed at his stomach.

He glanced over at Ladybug, still glaring daggers at Hawkmoth.

Even if she was… he couldn't betray his friends. Couldn't endanger people.

He may be a bad son.

But he just… couldn't do that.

His father rushed forwards suddenly, driving his cane into Chat's stomach.

All air left his lungs as he was flattened on the floor.

Leaving him motionless, unable to scrape together the energy to do more than twitch.

His father loomed over him, glaring down, angry and disappointed.

"GET AWAY FROM HIM!"

Ladybug barreled into his father, sending him flying.

Leaning down, she took Chat's hand. "Don't listen to a word he says. Don't let him reverse the roles. HE'S the bad guy, NOT YOU. You hear me, Chat? NOT. YOU."

He teared up, giving her a quick hug.

Wait.

Why wasn't his father attacking?

"TOUCH HIM AGAIN AND I'LL KILL YOU!"

*sning* *sning*

Chat watched as Robin swiped at Hawkmoth with the long metal claws he'd just extended from his gloves.

Ok, how did ROBIN have retractable claws while he didn't?!

Hawkmoth dodged most of the blows, though a few connected.

Mere metal couldn't pierce a Miraculous-made suit.

But it didn't need to.

Chat narrowed his eyes.

At first glance, it looked like Robin was simply swinging wildly in a rage, attempting to hurt Hawkmoth as much as possible. But looking closer, most of the blows were just below the neck area.

Right where the Butterfly Miraculous rested.

Unfortunately, his father realized it too.

He jumped back thirty feet, far out of range.

Cursing profusely, Robin attempted to follow him, firing off a zipline, swinging himself closer to Hawkmoth.

But to no avail. His father simply jumped out of range again.

Chat staggered to his feet, Ladybug slinging her arm around his shoulders, propping him up. "I'm- I'm okay. We have to-" he sputtered out.

He glanced behind Ladybug.

"MOVE!"

He threw himself and Ladybug to the side, rolling them out of the way of Hawkmoth's attack.

But that didn't save him from the follow-up hit.

His father slammed his cane into Chat's back. "You'd go this far for HER, for some girl, but not for your own mother?!" he sneered. "These friends of yours… they only want to drag you down, use you."

Ladybug extracted herself from Chat's embrace and threw her yo-yo, attempting to lasso his father. He knocked the yo-yo aside. "If Ladybug cared for you, she'd use her Miraculous and yours to revive your mother!"

He kicked Ladybug to the floor, leaving both her and Chat groaning. Slowly he walked towards Chat, seeming to savor the moment. "Oh Adrien… I gave you everything you could need. I raised you to be perfect. I gave you tutors, let you build your brand and influence by allowing you to model for me, even allowed you to hang out with your so-called friends, so long as they weren't proving harmful to your education or reputation. I see now that was a mistake. They've poisoned you. The son I knew would never have done anything to endanger his mother. Would have obeyed his father."

Chat turned over, attempting to crawl away - both from his father, and from Ladybug.

His father was targeting him. If he could lead him away, then maybe His Lady could flee, get away long enough to come up with some sort of plan.

Besides his… his father couldn't really- he knew he was awful, but he's his own son! He'd- he'd-

"Stop," he forced out, attempting to put as much distance as he could between him and his father. His father stared down at him with cold, hard eyes. Same as he always did.

He reached for Chat's hand.

"CATACLYSM!"

The black, destructive energy surrounded his hand. His father cursed, grabbing Chat's wrist tightly enough that it felt like it was leaving bruises, lifting him off the ground.

A light dawned in his father's eyes. He grinned.

"You want to keep the ring? So be it."

He pressed a button on his cane, opening the top.

Chat watched, horrified, as an akuma fluttered out.

"ADRIEN!"

He looked to the side. Ladybug ran toward him, a polka-dotted bag in her hand.

She was too far away. She wouldn't be able to get to him in time.

She didn't have to.

A figure dropped from above.

The butterfly entered Robin's left glove.

"Well, this is unexpected," his father mused.

Robin clutched his head. "GET. OUT."

"You believe that no one will forgive you for your past actions, that you're irrevocably tainted, incapable of washing the blood off of your hands." his father crooned.

"Shut up…" Robin gritted out.

Blood on his hands? The kid hadn't even hit puberty yet.

What the heck was Robin's past like?

"Your mother had you killed, your father and brothers only tolerate you because they don't know the true depths of your evil."

"YOU. DON'T. KNOW. ME." Robin screamed.

"But I understand. I can help you. With my help, you can erase everything wrong you did, undo all harm. You won't have to worry about the rest of your family abandoning you anymore, and finally you can be free of the guilt."

"I… I don't…"

Robin sounded… lost. Confused. Like a small child, wandering around looking for something, anything familiar to cling to.

From what his father was describing, it was no wonder. Seriously, what the HELL had this kid been through?

"Just bring me Ladybug's and Chat Noir's Miraculous, and I can help you fix EVERYTHING."

"I…"

*THWACK*

A red-and-black spotted bag rammed down on Hawkmoth's head, using Chat's staff as a handle.

Which normally would probably be as effective as using a plastic bag on Robin had been earlier.

...Except that Ladybug had apparently learned from that and decided to do more than just temporarily blind Hawkmoth for two seconds.

Namely, by using the make-shift butterfly net to scoop up several of the soon-to-be-akumas in it first.

And with his father already having his mouth open to continue monologuing…

He coughed and sputtered as several butterflies invaded his mouth.

Taking advantage of his father's distraction, Chat quickly rolled to his feet, reaching out and touching Robin's glove with his still-active cataclysm.

The glove disintegrated, freeing the akuma.

Ladybug quickly caught it in her yo-yo, before attempting to wrap it around his father again.

He stumbled back, spitting out butterfly wings - but still managed to just avoid the string.

The butterfly brooch pulled away, seemingly on its own.

His father froze, as Hawkmoth was replaced by Gabriel Agreste.

"Wha-"

He tried to snatch the brooch out of midair where it floated, but it darted away.

The brooch zoomed off. His father tried to run after it, but Ladybug was having none of it. For the third time, she tried to lasso him.

This time, she succeeded.

He crashed to the floor, cursing.

The brooch floated towards Robin.

Ducard flickered into view, holding the Miraculous.

Oh.

So his memories of her appearing out of thin air weren't delusions; she could turn invisible.

She must've been sneaking around the entire battle, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

Shakily he walked over to his father.

He glared up at him, sneering - but with a hint of fear in his eyes.

Only a couple minutes ago his father had loomed over him.

Now their situations were reversed.

Looking down at him like this, he didn't seem like the powerful, terrifying figure he'd been moments before - had been for most of Adrien's life if he was being honest with himself.

But now? He was just a guy.

He wasn't some overwhelming force, overshadowing everything Adrien thought or did.

Nor a looming threat over all of Paris, waiting to prey on any negative emotion, any moment of sadness, anger, or fear.

He was just a man.

He always had been.

"Well?" his father spat. "Are you really going to do this, my son? Leave your mother in a coma? Strike back against me?"

"Stop calling me that," he hissed. "DON'T call me your son - not after this. You never cared about me as a person, as your son - just as your property. You didn't 'allow' me to model for you - you mandated it. I didn't want to 'build my brand' - just have friends, go outside - be a regular kid! But that wasn't something you cared about so it didn't matter to you.

And you've been doing the same thing as Hawkmoth! I love Mom, I want her back - but the price would be to submit someone else to her fate. I can't do that. Even if I didn't know them, someone else would still pay the price. Whether they were close to me personally, they still matter.

But not to you. You only place value on those you consider to belong to you. And even then only when they do what you consider 'acceptable'. Everyone else is just… just tools for you to get what you want, or obstacles to get in your way!"

He turned away. "I won't be your tool. Not anymore. I'm not yours."

"How COULD you! I gave you everythi-"

*CRACK*

Chat whipped around.

Gabriel lay on the ground, unconscious. Robin standing beside him, fist still extended.

"What? Did you really need to listen to him rant on anymore?" Robin asked.

Chat shook his head. "No, I- thank you."

His Miraculous beeped twice.

Three paw pads left.

"Claws in."

Light flashed over him, Plagg leaving the ring.

Adrien pulled out some cheese for him from his inside jacket pocket.

Watching Plagg devour the cheese wedge, his stomach seized as he thought of something.

"I'm- I'm going to have to give you back," he stammered, his face green.

Plagg paused his eating. "What nonsense are you talking about? I thought we settled this before. I'm not leaving. You're stuck with me, kid."

"But - I don't have a choice now," his eyes watered. He fought to keep them down. He had a feeling that if he started crying right now, he wouldn't be able to stop. "He knows I'm Chat Noir. He might not be able to do anything himself, but what's going to stop him from just telling everyone? Even if the media refused to air it, he's bound to run into people in prison he can tell."

"He won't tell anyone, because he won't remember."

Adrien turned towards Robin, worried. "You knocked him out so hard you gave him amnesia?"

Robin scoffed. "No. If I tried, he'd probably end up in the hospital for brain damage. I know of an organization with a special tool that can erase memories like that."

"...Should I ask whether this is legal?"

"No."

"Is it safe at least?"

"For this? It shouldn't cause him any harm. There's not much to make him forget."

He breathed out. He was still trepidatious, but… well, some part of him wanted to trust Robin. And if it came between Gabriel's safety and Plagg's safety? (And he wasn't going to kid himself, Plagg would try to follow him even if he gave the Black Cat Miraculous back to Fu.) He would choose Plagg.

Ladybug put a hand on his shoulder. "Adrien? Are you- of course you're not okay, who would be? But…"

He shot her a small smile. It felt false. "I'll be fine."

Her eyebrows creased. She looked even more worried, but didn't press the subject.

Ducard walked over to Ladybug, handing over the brooch. "I'm guessing you know what to do with this?"

She nodded. "We'll make sure the Miraculous goes where it belongs," she said, taking the piece of jewelry and stowing it in her yo-yo.

Adrien wasn't sure how he felt about that. It was so… final. He kept on believing that in a minute he might blink and be back where he was, with Hawkmoth leering over him, winding up to hit him.

But… the brooch was gone now. He couldn't just… wake up and grab it. It was out of his reach, even if he did wake up unexpectedly.

It just seemed unreal.

Ladybug retrieved her Lucky Charm, throwing it into the air. "Miraculous Ladybug!"

The ladybugs swirled around them, repairing what little damage had been done.

The raw ache in Adrien's body disappeared. He hadn't even realized how much he was still feeling his father's beating until it was gone.

A ringtone sounded from his father's unconscious body. Adrien blinked.

Mechanically he walked over, looking at the caller ID.

Nathalie's face greeted him.

He stared numbly. In the excitement, he'd forgotten about her.

Robin checked his monitoring device. "She's in Gabriel's office, heading over to the painting."

Heading over to-

His stomach seized.

She definitely knew.

He'd assumed she did, but-

"Everyone, HIDE!" Robin hissed.

Ladybug's earrings beeped. He glanced at them. Only one dot left now.

She cursed, dragging his father into the foliage before crouching down herself.

Adrien followed her lead, crouching down beneath a bush.

"Spots off," she muttered, detransforming.

The yo-yo string that had been wrapped around his father disappeared, leaving him limp on the ground.

Adrien froze, staring at him.

Marinette was right there, within easy reach if he woke up.

He wasn't moving beyond the slow, soft rising and falling of his chest.

But- what if he was faking?

He shook his head. No, no. Robin had knocked him out himself. And while his way of making friends was… questionable, his skill was not.

So why couldn't he stop seeing images of him waking up? Of him grabbing her by the neck while she was looking away? Ripping her earrings out, and-

His train of thought ground to a halt, refusing to contemplate what his father might do if Marinette resisted.

"Breathe, kid, breathe," Plagg's voice whispered.

He took a breath, letting it out slowly.

Still, he couldn't help staring, looking for the slightest twitch of movement.

*whirreeee*

Until the noise started up, that is.

He looked over to the elevator, tensing. He wanted to keep watching his father, but with danger on two fronts…

*clunk*

The elevator landed, its doors opening.

Nathalie - his father's assistant, the woman who'd been mostly parenting him since his mother... disappeared, who he thought might even become his stepmother - stepped out.

Hawkmoth's accomplice.

She looked around. "Sir? You didn't answer your phone, are you- AAAH!"

Tripping seemingly on thin air (though Adrien suspected it was rather more solid than that), she faceplanted onto the floor.

As she struggled to get back up, something seemed to be pinning her in place.

"Wha- who-?"

Robin jumped down from where he'd been hanging, retracting his grappling gun's line.

"This is assault!" Nathalie spat. "I don't know how they do things in Gotham, but-"

"I don't think anyone's going to protest taking down Hawkmoth's accomplice," Robin sneered.

Fear flashed across her face. Still, she did her best to maintain her composure. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Robin rolled his eyes. "Right. You just HAPPENED to wander down to Hawkmoth's lair, filled with the butterflies he uses, Gabriel's comatose supposedly-dead wife, while calling for Gabriel."

She glared at him as best she could while face-down, pinned to the ground. "Our lawyers will hear about this."

"You do that." Robin put one of his gloved hands over her face. Within seconds she stopped struggling, going limp.

"You can come out now," he called out.

Adrien emerged from the bush. He looked over at Marinette, making sure she was well out of Gabriel's (potential) reach, before walking over to Nathalie's prone form.

"What did you do to her?" he asked slowly. Intellectually he knew that Nathalie had helped his father, had helped Hawkmoth, but… right now, it was hard to see anything but the woman who'd taken care of him for the past several months. Even knowing what she'd done, he didn't want to see her hurt.

"Same thing I did to you and Marinette. She'll wake up in a few hours."

"Wait, you had that stuff still on hand?"

"Of course I did. Why wouldn't I?"

"Then why didn't you use that to knock my father out?"

"I wanted to punch him," Robin said simply.

Adrien opened his mouth… and then closed it. He couldn't really deny that sentiment.

"What now?" he asked instead.

Robin looked at him. "You two can head home. I can take it from here."

Marinette stalked up, seeming like she was about to protest… and then glanced over at Adrien. Her face softened. She looked back over at Robin. "DON'T hurt Nathalie, and make sure to give Gabriel back after wiping his memory. They'll need to stand trial. And if you find the Peacock Miraculous, give it STRAIGHT over. No tests, no funny business. Got that?"

He glared at her a moment, but nodded. Ducard cut in, "I'll make sure you get the Peacock back, don't worry."

She stared at them both, as if searching for their intentions, then nodded.

Turning towards Adrien, she gave him a small smile, putting her arm around his shoulders. "Come on kitty, let's go home."

Home…? Where…?

With her.

She meant going home WITH HER.

Shakily he drew in breath. "Yeah. Let's go home."

His father might be a monster.

His caretaker might be an accomplice.

His mother might be unconscious.

But he still had people who loved him.

He still had places to call home.


(A/N) In case anyone was wondering why Chat didn't push back directly, physically against his father much; it was really important to me that in Chat Blanc, once Chat knew Hawkmoth was his father, he never laid a hand on him, even with as furious and hurt as it was, while GABRIEL knowingly beat his son into the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to preserve that.

I had the bit with Maya taking the brooch planed for a long time. One of the difficult parts was giving everyone something to do; Hawkmoth really wouldn't stand much of a chance against all four of them, not for long, and I really wanted to give everyone a role to play. With Maya's main power being her invisibility suit, she seemed like the perfect one to snatch his Miraculous.